After the recently concluded intense Australian tour, India are ready for their first home series after 11 months post the COVID-19 pandemic. The players have landed Chennai on 27th January and are currently undergoing a quarantine period for six days.
England have come to India after a 2-0 series win against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. Joe Root and the two spinners Dom Bess and Jack Leach were the stars of that tour.
This test series is a part of ICC Test Championship and knowing who will win can help decide which team will go to the final at Lord and which team will miss out.
India are currently in the no 1 position with 71.7 PCT, therefore India need to win three matches to qualify for the final. England on the hand are in no. 4 position and they need to win all the four matches in order to qualify for the final.
Indian team is coming from a winning momentum after defeating the Aussies 2-1 despite not having their 6-7 main players in the playing 11 due to injury. With skipper Virat Kohli, Ishant Sharma coming back in the squad, the team becomes even more balanced than before.
Ravindra Jadeja unfortunately misses out of the squad as he hasn’t yet recovered from thumb fracture. Left-arm spinner Axar Patel is the new addition to the squad as he is the like-for-like replacement for Jadeja.
KL Rahul and Hanuma Vihari won’t be available for the first two tests, therefore Hardik Pandya makes a come-back in the test squad.
Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar retain their place in the squad after good performances with both bat and ball in the 4th test at Gabba against Australia.
India Squad (first two tests):
Virat Kohli (C), Ajinkya Rahane (VC), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul(subject to fitness), Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (WK), Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur.
England have come out with a full strength squad with the likes of Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Rory Burns back in the test squad. Joe Root is in the form of his life as he has scored two centuries in back to back games (including a double century) against Sri Lanka.
Dom Bess and Jack Leach are the two front-line spinners for this series. This spin duo has taken 22 wickets in the two matches played in Sri Lanka
Moeen Ali will be the third spinner in the spin department, he is 19 wickets shy of taking 200 wickets in his test career.
England has one of the most experienced and lethal bowling attacks in the world. The trio of Anderson, Broad and Archer has taken 1100 plus wickets in total.
Joe Root, Joss Buttler and Ben Stokes are three key players to watch out for this series. Jos Buttler will leave the tour after 1st test, therefore Ben Foakes will replace him as the wicket-keeper batsman.
Since a lot of cricket is happening around the world, nowadays workload management and rotation policy is important for players playing competitive cricket. Therefore Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran and Mark Wood have been rested for the first two matches of the series.
England Squad(first 2 tests):
Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Dom Sibley, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, James Anderson.
It is going to be an exciting series for both the teams. India playing at home has an advantage of utilizing the pitch to their strength. Therefore India are overwhelming favourites to win this series.
Indian spinners are far more experienced and skillful than England’s spin department. However, England’s pace bowling department has an edge over the Indian fast bowling attack. England will give a tough fight and hopefully may the better team win.
Feb 05-09: 1st Test at MA Chidambaram Stadium (Chepauk), Chennai
Feb 13-17: 2nd Test at MA Chidambaram Stadium (Chepauk), Chennai
Feb 24-28: 3rd Test (Day-Night) at Sardar Patel Stadium (Motera), Ahmedabad
Mar 04-08: 4th Test at Sardar Patel Stadium (Motera), Ahmedabad